It seems to me that we all have various conflicts & hot spots that we have to manage – such hot spots could include: stressful conversations with co-workers / classmates, conflict with our mates, harsh words between friends, scratchy people, etc. Regardless of having hotspots, which seem to be inevitable, here are some ideas for constructive words that might come in handy:
*a soft answer turns away wrath (Prov 15:1): you are a really gifted person with (name a talent they have)
*words seasoned with grace (Col 4:6): I believe that you were trying your best in this situation (give the benefit of the doubt)
*be quick to listen (James 1:19): Please help me understand what you’re concerned about (seek to understand the other person’s point of view)
*be encouraging (1 Thess 5:11): I really want to encourage you that I see you’re trying hard in this situation; I want to encourage you that I see talents, gifts and potential in you that you may not see
*pursue peace (Rom 14:19): Here’s the common ground that we can agree on (describe something about which you agree)
What are some suggestions you’d give us that could also be helpful?
Last week my husband & I did kind of a joint sermon at our church on Marital Martial Arts (MMA) – How to Have a Good Fight with your spouse. It was a fun sermon to do & as we prepared for it, we had some good laughs at the conflicts we’ve had over 18 years of marriage. In relation to conflicts, I was listening to my kids the other day & they were fighting about something super stupid. I think they were arguing about who could sit in the front seat of the car. They’ve also fought about water balloons, legos, pancakes, etc. Now don’t get me wrong, our family isn’t always in a perpetual fight. But as I was listening to the various topics of conflict, it struck me about how stupid are some of the things my kids fight about. Then it hit me – maybe God thinks that many of the things we fight about as adults are equally as stupid.
We fight about control & power, when the reality is that God is all powerful & in complete control.
We fight about money & finances, when He is our ultimate Provision.
We fight about relationships & love, when He is the ultimate source for our need for love.
We fight to feel important & significant, when the only real path to self worth is through Jesus.
Let’s put our energy into growing in our relationship with Jesus rather than fighting about things that often don’t have what we really want & need 🙂
Fighting is an interesting concept that gets practiced in many different ways:
the guy who flips me off because I cut in front of his car
fighting in Afghan, Iraq, Libya & other areas
fighting with our spouse over little things portending a bigger issue
fighting with a friend over a misunderstanding or something that is wrong
There are lots of ways of fighting, some of which are better than others. When I was first married, Reece & I would have some normal disagreement, but my way of handling the conflict was to just shut down & disengage (aka – silent treatment). Reece didn’t really put up with that technique, saying that there was nothing constructive accomplished w my silence – it didn’t help resolve the conflict, make any progress toward a common goal or do anything constructive. Quickly, I realized that he was right. Since then, Reece & I can definately have some fights & heated conversations, but we don’t clam up & get silent. We also don’t take shots at each other’s person – we may not like the other’s behavior, but we don’t attack each directly. Consequently, while we’ve had some pretty sturdy conflicts, we also have developed some really good honesty & intimacy over the years.
I think the idea of working through a conflict with God is even more important than when we work through a conflict w our spouse. I don’t think that God is into a passive intimacy with us, where we just roll over & play dead. Think about some of the great men in the Bible: Job, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Peter, . . . . These men all had conflicts with God – good honest “fights” where they disgreed with God, wrestled with Him, challenged His integrity, confronted the discrepencies in the world with God’s character & sometimes just flat out debated with God. If we genuinely want a close relationship with God, there will be times when we will disagree with Him & I don’t think this makes Him nervous. Engaging with God whether through intense love or frustration & even anger is better than indifference & passivity. There is such a thing as a “right fight”.